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Dr. Jane Goodall: Every single one of you makes an impact on this planet every single day

ACS Athens and its students proudly welcome the distinguished scientist and activist for habitat conservation.

On December 10, 2018 Dr. Jane Goodall, UN Messenger of Peace and Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute visited ACS Athens today during her "Reasons to Hope" Tour in Greece.

The elementary and middle school students of ACS Athens and other schools who participated in the Roots & Shoots educational program had the opportunity to present to Dr. Goodall their ongoing social and environmental projects. The projects align with the guidelines of Roots & Shoots educational framework which offers the students the chance to work on pressing environmental issues, cultivate their problem solving and teamwork skills, become members of an international network and most importantly become themselves agents of social change for our habitat. The pioneer primatologist and anthropologist took the time to review the showcased projects and discuss with the students about their creation. After the project-based discussion, Dr. Goodall gave a short lecture to the wider student audience regarding social and environmental challenges and individuals’ roles in facing them. Dr. Goodall also promised to share with the students a video talk especially made for them before the end of the year.

In her speech, the world-renowned and award-winning scientist called everyone to action: "I have been looking at the fabulous projects of the Roots and Shoots groups. I would like to congratulate everybody for the work you are doing for making the world a better place. For those not involved in Roots and Shoots, I hope you will become members. Our programme exists currently in 80 countries and is like a growing family all around the world. The most important message of Roots and Shoots is that every single one of you has a special role to play in this life, even if you may not yet know what it is and every single one matters in the scheme of things. Every single one of you makes an impact on this planet every single day and you have a choice as to what kind of impact you make: you are either going to make things better or you do not care." Dr. Goodall finally urged the student audience: "Go on, carry on doing good things, making the world a better place, bringing smiles to people's faces, making little dogs wag their tails, watering little plants."

The President of ACS Athens, Dr. Stefanos Gialamas, expressed his joy for hosting Dr. Goodall at ACS Athens for a second time in 2 years: 'Being responsible citizens is a learned behavior that happens in stages; first is developing a social interest mindset, then creating opportunities for social engagement, and finally encouraging active participation through social devotion. It's like learning mathematics; you have to learn addition and subtraction before you learn algebra. I am delighted to welcome Dr. Goodall to ACS Athens as one of the most responsible and inspiring global citizens I know."

Through her lifelong work, Dr. Jane Goodall is a symbol of global ethos and an example to look up to for students and adults. She has dedicated her life to protecting life on “the planet we all share” and ACS Athens shares her dedication to serving humanity. For this reason, ACS Athens took this opportunity to support her visit in Athens and the school and invited her on campus, giving to students the opportunity to get informed and involved in the Roots & Shoots project. Dr. Goodall has always stood for the interconnectedness of all living things and the collective power of individual action and ACS Athens similarly stands for the interconnectedness between education and civic responsibility. As students can become the architects of their own learning in ACS Athens, they can also become agents of change, can make a difference and play an important role, as Dr. Goodall urges. The Dean of Academic and Student Affairs of ACS Athens, Dr. Peggy Pelonis commented on the purpose of this initiative: "Dr. Jane Goodalls' commitment to preserving the ecosystem speaks to our hearts. Our vision "empowering students to be architects of their own learning" aims to help develop responsible citizens of the world that can be part of the solution. Her presence at ACS Athens gave students the opportunity to meet a person who single-handedly changed perceptions about the animal world. Dr. Goodall's Institute, Roots and Shoots is led by children who are dedicated to finding practical solutions. Indeed the place to begin is in schools (roots) so that children can grow (shoots) and become responsible citizens committed to creating a better world."

Before the end of her visit at ACS Athens, Dr. Goodall gave a video interview to two ACS Athens students, Joshua Fields and Kathleen Morris, at the school's Media Studio. The young reporters were eager to ask her about the early steps in her research, the challenges faced and her outlook on the planet's future. Dr. Goodall talked about the necessary steps to be taken: "What you learn in the rainforest is that everything is interconnected. Only one goal of sustainability will not work alone. We need different people working on different fields they are passionate about. From my perspective, it is really important to achieve: first, reduction of poverty, because if you are poor you cut down the last tree and destroy the environment to grow food or make money, or in an urban environment you buy the cheapest food, you cannot afford to ask where it was made, if it harmed the environment, if it leads to cruelty to animals or if it is cheap because of child slavery. The second one is that everyone adopts a sustainable lifestyle. Lastly, another important issue we have to be very concerned about is population growth. More people means more development and more economic development. With our planet's natural resources it is not going to work. Your future is at stake." Dr. Jane Goodall shared how the Roots & Shoots program started and why she feels there are reasons to hope: "I was traveling around the world seeing young people with no hope. They believed that older generations had compromised their future and there was nothing to do about it. Indeed we have compromised their future. It is not true that 'we have not inherited the planet from our parents but borrowed it from our children'. We have stolen it and still are stealing. But I do not believe that there is no chance left, I think there is a window of time. If we all get together we can start healing some of the scars and that is what Root & Shoots is all about: to understand that as alone you cannot make much difference, but when you get to millions and billions of people making ethical choices, then you start making a better world. Roots & Shoots has members in 80 countries in the world, from kindergarten to university, making a difference.' The faculty members of ACS Athens who worked with students on their Jane Goodall Roots & Shoots project shared their experience.
Christina Bakoyannis, the teacher responsible for the Middle School projects stated: "The goal is to create global citizens that can find practical and tangible solutions to issues that our local community faces. The work displayed for Dr. Jane Goodall's visit at ACS Athens is work that started at the beginning of the school year and will be implemented by the end of the year. Students started their exploration during United Nations Day by having a specific sustainable development goal assigned to them. The sustainable development goals focus on the topics of climate change, poverty, and equity. Through the goal assigned to their advisory groups, students explored local issues and began the work of contacting organizations, while at the same time creating their action plans. Students also explored the life and work of Dr. Goodall and through this inspiration started working on their Roots and Shoots projects. Through these projects, students became architects of their own learning as they developed their project ideas and steps for their action plans."
Eleftheria Maratou, the teacher responsible for Elementary School projects noted: "The presentations of the elementary school clubs revolved around helping animals, community service and environmental awareness. All students worked very hard for their presentations and they were very excited to present their work to Ms. Goodall, who is a role model for them. They were very proud of their initiatives and being able to contribute to the Roots & Shoots program."

Dr. Goodall's visit to Athens this December is organized by her official office in Greece: Jane Goodall's Roots & Shoots Greece, with the support of the organization "Save a Greek Stray', Pallas Theater, the British Council Greece and the "Science Communication (Sci Co)" Organization, with the support of the British Embassy and the sponsorship of American Community Schools (ACS Athens) and St. George Lycabettus Hotel.


About Dr. Jane Goodall Jane Goodall Bio - Short Version Jane Goodall, Ph.D., DBE Founder, the Jane Goodall Institute UN Messenger of Peace.

Jane Goodall was born on April 3, 1934, in London England. At the young age of 26, she followed her passion for animals and Africa to Gombe, Tanzania, where she began her landmark study of chimpanzees in the wild- immersing herself in their habitat as a neighbor rather than a distant observer. Her discovery in 1960 that chimpanzees make and use tools rocked the scientific world and redefined the relationship between humans and animals.

In 1977, she established the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) to advance her work around the world and for generations to come. JGI continues the field research at Gombe and builds on Dr. Goodall’s innovative approach to conservation, which recognizes the central role that people play in the well-being of animals and the environment. In 1991, she founded Roots & Shoots, a global program that guides young people in nearly 100 countries in becoming conservation activists and leaders in their daily lives.

Today, Dr. Goodall travels the world, speaking about the threats facing chimpanzees, environmental crises and her reasons for hope. In her books and speeches, she emphasizes the interconnectedness of all living things and the collective power of individual action. Dr. Goodall is a UN Messenger of Peace and Dame Commander of the British Empire.

For more information, please visit
About Roots & Shoots: for anyone in Greece and for anyone in the US.


National Honor Society Induction Ceremony

Dear Parents, Faculty and Guests,
You are cordially invited to the Academy's National Honor Society Induction Ceremony.
Time & Date: Tuesday, December 11, 2018, promptly at 16:00.

Venue: Conference room, Administration building, 2nd floor

Please join us in celebrating our students' success and their commitment to the values of

  • Scholarship
  • Service
  • Leadership
  • Character
Dr. Elina Prodromidi, NHS Advisory
Mr. Anthony Vandarakis, Academy Principal
Dr. Peggy Pelonis, Dean of Academic and Student Affairs

Accreditation Planning Team Meeting

Οn Tuesday 4th of December, approximately sixty people comprised of parents, students, faculty, administrators and board members, came together as members of the Accreditation Planning Team to proceed with the next accreditation cycle beggining 2022 using the Sustaining Excellence protocol.

The goals were twofold: to bring new members up to speed with the accreditation process and to give everyone a "snap shot" of student work and learning outcomes guided by ACS Athens faculty. Members engaged in a lively workshop as they walked through an exhibition of learning that was provided by the faculty. Six areas were highlighted: student scores, college placement, innovation, citizenship/community service, professional development and Action Research. The exhibit showcased the diverse and continuous progress of ACS Athens on all six areas with data, projects and initiatives that prove how ACS Athens sustains excellence. The result was extraordinary. The exhibition is open to all faculty and staff until Saturday, December 8th, at the Mindfulness Center.

Presently, ACS Athens is accredited by the MSA Sustaining Excellence protocol until 2022 thus becoming a de-facto model school for international education.



MoodleMoot Greece Conference, 29-30 November 2018

For a second consecutive year, ACS Athens had a remarkable presence at the MoodleMoot Greece Conference, held at the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), November 29 & 30.

Two successful, well-received, 1 and 1/2 hours workshops were delivered by ACS Athens faculty members for the conference track involving "Best Practices in K-12". Dr. Maria Avgerinou and Ms. Mary Manos with faculty members Ms. Angela Chamosfakidis, Ms. Matina Katsiyianni, Ms. Katerina Pisanias and Dr. Elina Prodromidi presented "Designing, implementing and evaluating K12 Blended Learning through the QualityMatters Framework: A Step-by-Step Approach". MS Faculty Ms. Christina Bakoyiannis and Ms. Sevasti Koniossis presented "Moodle: The Service Learning Connection".

Prof. Demetrios Sampson, University of Piraeus, chair of the scientific committee of MoodleMoot Greece (seen in the picture below) and proud parent of ACS Athens student, was among the attendees of the first workshop which had reached maximum attendance. At the end of the presentation, he enthusiastically congratulated all presenters for their delivery, and also, and perhaps most importantly, for their overall wonderful work at ACS Athens!


Stanford University recognizes ACS Athens faculty

Stanford University recognizes ACS Athens faculty Stanford University recognizes ACS Athens faculty

ACS Athens' own tennis instructor, Chris Kourtis, received Stanford University recognition for his exceptional teaching, his dedication as an educator and a mentor and for his contribution to the future of his students, to Stanford University itself and to the ACS Athens community. Stanford University shared with our school the letter of recognition signed by Richard H. Shaw, Dean of Undergraduate Admission and Financial Aid. The letter contains a statement signed by a former student of Mr. Kourtis and a member of Stanford Class of 2022: "Mr. Chris has taught me to appreciate the small details of life. From receiving World Cup Stickers as a gift to hitting hours of rallies on the tennis courts, I have been blessed with the greatest memories with him throughout my eight years of growing up under his guidance. He is always surrounded by kids of all age, attracted by his ability to make every little experience memorable. I thank him for all he has done for me, as my mentor, my coach and most importantly my friend."

ACS Athens President Dr. Stefanos Gialamas, in communicating this outstanding remark with the rest of the faculty, states: "ACS Athens is proud of its faculty and the impact it has on our students. We are honored by this manifestation of excellence."


1st place for the ACS team in the aerospace contest of the Greek Physicists Association

1st place for the ACS team in the aerospace contest

A team of ACS Academy students came first in the 1st aerospace competition of the Greek Physicists Association. They are going to design, build, and test a scientific apparatus to study the behavior of foams and emulsions under microgravity conditions at 100 km altitude inside a Blue Origin's capsule, a true STEAM investigation. Upon the flight's completion, the apparatus will be returned to the team for the subsequent data analysis.

More precisely, they are going to study 3 different mixtures (traditional Greek products) in parallel, a) extra virgin olive oil with water, b) petimezi, and c) ouzo with water and soap.

The students conducted research on the topic, built prototypes, and presented their proposal in a professional way in front of a committee and the other participating Schools at Stanley Hotel, Athens, November 11th.

The team consists of the following:
Sofia Sofocleous, Barbara Simonetou (leaders/managers), Dimitris Athanasopoulos, Xufeng Bai, Ming Guo, Alexandros Dragovic (research), Jason Somoglou, Alex Vlantis (development), Dr. Karampelas, Dr. Kerkines, Dr. Prodromidi, Ms. Poulou, Mr. Arsenikos, Dr. Tsigaridi (faculty).

1st place for the ACS team in the aerospace contest

Jason Katsaros created the necessary 3D designs. Nefeli Naoum, Sabrina Saboya, and Vasilis Tsourekas created the required artworks for the finals (of very high quality). Pantelis Sfinias has been part of the team for a while.

This is going to be the second ACS space mission with Blue Origin: Another team of Academy students are already working since many months to build an experiment for the study of the viscosity of honey under microgravity conditions, with the launch to be scheduled between late February and late April.

Both programs take place in the Incubator of Students' Creative Ideas.

Blue Origin, founded by Jeff Bezos (Amazon), is an aerospace company pioneering rocket reusability, reducing the costs of space travels and paving the way for space colonization. Blue Origin aims in colonizing the Moon.

1st place for the ACS team in the aerospace contest 1st place for the ACS team in the aerospace contest 1st place for the ACS team in the aerospace contest 1st place for the ACS team in the aerospace contest